How dull to have a gun and not shoot. Guns should be fired.

Fu Yuli / Nicky Harman

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Dragon Boat

by Ge Liang, translated by Karen Curtis

ge liang dragon boat

In Yuye’s mind, there are no vast stretches of sea in Hong Kong. Victoria harbor, viewed from high above, looks like nothing more than a narrow strip of water. It is only after nightfall, in the waning light, when scattered twinkles on the boats and piers frame the contours of the water, that the sea starts to look more impressive.

Yuye grew up by the sea – a real one that stretched to the horizon. At high tide, giant waves crashed agains...

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Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize: The Reaction from Writers in China

By David Haysom, October 20, '16

Yes, China also noticed that Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

It is akin to Cui Jian [崔健] receiving the prize, argues Zhang Yiwu [张颐武], a professor at Peking University. “This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature was a complete surprise, an unexpectedly novel approach – a Black Swan, even. Yes, Bob Dylan has been a global megastar of music since the 1960s, and he influenced the new social movements of the era. But it’s a bold move for a prize that has been a staid presence in the literary landscape for so many years. It’s certainly innovative. In the age of the internet, anything’s possible.”
Chen Xiaoming [陈晓明], another literary critic, has also remarked on the unexpectedness of the award. “Perhaps this is something to do with the personal tastes of the committee,” he suggests, “a moment of nostalgia. Or perhaps reading his biography reminded them of their own youths, like some kind of performance art. Or another possibility is that this is their way of encouraging people to pay less attention to the prize, to stop treating it with such reverance. You’re all expected us to give it to Adonis, well okay then, we’ll give it to Bob Dylan.”
—translated from 诺贝尔文学奖颁给音乐人 为什么是鲍勃·迪伦

Here are a selection of responses from Chinese authors (collected from Weixin and Weibo by the Paper Republic team):


Coming soon – Read Paper Republic: Afterlives

By David Haysom, October 18, '16


Following a brief period of dormancy, Read Paper Republic will be reanimated next Thursday (just in time for Halloween!) with a limited run of six new tales in which death is merely the beginning of the story. Every week, one of these stories – populated with ghosts, memories, and otherworldly reincarnations – will be appearing right here, and they will be completely free to read.

We also have some upcoming events happening in London which we'll be announcing soon – watch this space...

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Links - Blogs and websites

By Helen Wang, October 17, '16

Maybe it's time to check the Links page on this website? (scroll down to the bottom of your screen - if you're using a big screen, it's on bottom left)

  • are these still active?
  • are there new ones that we should add?

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Three Chances to See Ge Fei in New York

By Eric Abrahamsen, October 6, '16

Ge Fei's new English novel, The Invisibility Cloak, translated by our own Canaan Morse, is out next week, published by The New York Review of Books Press next week. Ge Fei is visiting the Big Apple and environs, and those of you in Manhattan or Brooklyn have three chances to see him talk about his new book!

  1. The first event is at Columbia University on October 12th (Wednesday) starting at 4pm, where Ge Fei will be joined by Canaan to discuss the book.

  2. Then later that evening (October 12th, 7pm) Ge Fei appears at the Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, in conversation with Michael Barron.

  3. Lastly, he'll be at the China Institute on the 13th (Thursday) at 6:30pm, with Zhang Xudong.

If you're in town, take the opportunity to see Ge Fei talk! He's a great writer, a great big brain, and a wonderful speaker.



By Eric Abrahamsen, October 3, '16

We've got a new look! With thanks to Sun Xiaoxi, the designer behind the 2015 BIBF look. 21st century, here we come!

It's possible that people using truly ancient versions of Internet Explorer might have some difficulties – please let me know in the comments.

Meanwhile, this will be a good starting place from which to start working on better entry points to the database. A nice winter project...


Wang Anyi receives 2017 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature

By David Haysom, September 26, '16

From the Newman Prize homepage:

While the deliberations were tough, after a process of positive elimination voting Wang Anyi emerged as the winner. Wang Anyi’s nominator, Dai Jinhua (戴锦华, Peking University), writes in her nomination statement: “Over the past thirty or more years, Wang Anyi has continuously transformed her writing and altered her literary directions to produce a spectacular array of works, through which she has created a sort of reality of Chinese-language literature, a city in literature, or even a nation in literature.”

Wang Anyi's story "Dark Alley" (translated by Canaan Morse) was the 47th release of Read Paper Republic Season 1.

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PEN Presents Open for Submissions

By Eric Abrahamsen, September 23, '16

English PEN has this program called "PEN Presents", where they provide translators with funding to promote books they want to translate, and this year they're accepting applications from East and South-East Asia. From their announcement

PEN Presents aims to help publishers to discover – and publish – the most exciting books from around the world, whilst supporting emerging translators in their development as advocates for international literature. Each year the initiative presents six exciting books by contemporary authors, recommended by literary translators, which have not yet been acquired for English-language publication. Each round of PEN Presents focusses on a different region of the world.

They're working with the Asia Literary Review for this year's program – see this link for application instructions. The deadline is December 5, 2016.

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Chinese Literary Magazine Coming in Arabic

By Bruce Humes, September 2, '16

Ahramonline reports:

An Arabic edition of the magazine Chinese Literature has been launched during the Beijing International Book Fair and will be distributed for free starting October as a periodical magazine issued every three months in partnership with the Egyptian cultural newspaper Al-Kahera.

The magazine, which is already published in 10 languages and comprises fiction, poetry and art, will be published under the name Beacons of the Silk Road, and will introduce contemporary Chinese literature to Arabic readers.

I'm wondering: Is this the newest edition of Pathlight?